Star Trek

Jonathan Frakes Isn’t Ready To Give Up On Star Trek: Legacy

Even before the third and final season of “Star Trek: Picard” finished airing on Paramount+ in 2023, showrunner Terry Matalas was speaking openly about wanting to make a spinoff called “Star Trek: Legacy.” The third season of “Picard” was far better than the previous two seasons, and Trekkies began to excitedly speculate about its continuation, constructing entire pitch packets in their minds.

The final episode of “Picard” saw the U.S.S. Titan-A rechristened as the Enterprise-G, with Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) serving as its captain. Raffi (Michelle Hurd), her ex-girlfriend, was her first officer, and Picard’s son Jack (Ed Speleers) had been rushed through Starfleet Academy so that he could serve as an ensign. It seemed like the setting and premise for “Legacy” was firmly in place.

Other supporting players from “Picard” would serve as the rest of the ensemble and, to make things even more tantalizing, audiences were even treated to a post-credits cameo from the presumed-dead Q (John De Lancie), the impish trickster god. Matalas had essentially snuck a backdoor pilot into “Picard” and took to social media to whip fans into a letter-writing frenzy, hoping to pressure Paramount into greenlighting the new series.

The Streaming Wars, however, ended badly for everyone and Paramount+ has had to scale back everything. It’s canceled most of the new “Star Trek” shows that have debuted since 2017, shortened another show into a movie, and generally communicated that “Star Trek” is contracting, not expanding. Matalas was then hired to oversee Marvel Studios’ upcoming “Vision” series, pretty much killing any hope for “Legacy.”

In an interview with IndieWire, however, longtime “Star Trek” director and actor Jonathan Frakes claimed that “Legacy” could still come into being. At the very least, he still hopes it might.

Where Star Trek currently stands

As of this writing, “Star Trek: Picard” has been gone for a year and “Star Trek: Discovery” has only just come to an end. The spy series “Section 31” has been shortened into a single movie event (due out later in 2024), while the final season of “Star Trek: Prodigy” will air on Netflix beginning in July. It was also announced that “Star Trek: Lower Decks” will also be ending after its next season, and it’s looking like everyone forgot about “Star Trek: Short Treks.” The only new “Star Trek” shows currently on the table are “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” and the still-being-developed “Starfleet Academy.” There was a time when six “Star Trek” shows were running simultaneously. The future will see only two … assuming they both survive.

Despite the shrunken state of “Star Trek,” Jonathan Frakes is still hopeful about “Legacy.” Frakes played William Riker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reprised his role for “Lower Decks” and “Picard.” He’s also become a prolific TV director, having worked on every “Star Trek” show since the 1990s. He knows the way the franchise operates and has survived throughout its evolution. When asked about “Legacy,” Frakes replied:

“I certainly have hopes and thoughts. Updates? I don’t have, but I do know that the franchise is in great shape. I do know that this ‘Starfleet Academy’ series is going to be an entirely different animal, and I think that the success of what I’m imagining, the success of ‘Section 31,’ Michelle Yeoh’s movie, is only going to catapult us further into the future, and my hope, obviously is that we’ll find a place then to continue the ‘Legacy’ story.”

Time will tell.

How likely is it that Star Trek: Legacy will happen?

As mentioned, Terry Matalas just took a job with Marvel, so it’s unlikely he’ll have the time and the wherewithal to work on “Vision” and “Star Trek: Legacy” at the same time. If “Star Trek: Legacy” is put into production, it would have to be without the show’s creator. Which, of course, isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. “Star Trek: Discovery” was still made even after the show’s original co-creator, Bryan Fuller, dropped out early in its development. If Matalas isn’t running the show, however, duties would fall to current “Star Trek” honcho Alex Kurtzman (and one can only guess what changes he would implement).

“Star Trek” is also one of the flagship brands of Paramount, which is looking to merge with Skydance Media and has a habit of overspending on the sci-fi franchise. At least, that seems to have been the mandate since 2017. If “Legacy” is to be made, it would potentially have to supplant one of the ongoing or in-development shows, replacing either “Strange New Worlds” or “Starfleet Academy.” The latter is still in pre-production, so the former would more likely be chopped. Trekkies would have to debate as to which series they would rather have between “Legacy” and “Strange New Worlds.” Perhaps after the latter wraps up, “Legacy” could be revisited.

Securing the cast, on the other hand, would be easy. Jeri Ryan, Michelle Hurd, and Ed Speleers aren’t currently slated to work on other massively time-consuming projects, while Todd Stashwick might even return as the snippy Captain Shaw (even though the character died).

Ultimately, though, the odds aren’t looking good. Paramount is in trouble, “Star Trek” is contracting, and there’s been no movement on the project. Frakes is hopeful, but he might be one of the few.

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